USCIS Expands Green Card Eligibility for STEM Professionals

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Employers can now directly sponsor these skilled professionals for green cards, bypassing the lengthy and intricate PERM process.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced a policy revision that clarifies the fields eligible for a simplified green card process under Schedule A, Group II. This process targets individuals with “exceptional ability” in STEM areas, and the latest update expands the definition of what qualifies as a “science or art.”

WHAT’S NEW: The revised definition of “science or art” now includes any discipline in which colleges and universities typically offer degrees. As a result, a broader range of STEM experts may now be eligible for the Schedule A process.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

  • Exceptional STEM Talent: The stringent criteria for “exceptional ability” remain in place. You must show international recognition and acclaim in your field.
  • Expanded Fields: Individuals with degrees in a broader range of STEM disciplines are now eligible.

EVIDENCE OF EXCEPTIONAL ABILITY

To demonstrate exceptional ability, you must provide documentation that meets at least two of the following seven criteria:

  • International Recognition: Awards, prizes, or other recognitions from reputable international organizations in your field.
  • Membership in Elite Organizations: Membership in exclusive professional organizations that require significant achievements for admission.
  • Media Coverage: Articles or features about you or your work in prominent publications or media outlets.
  • Judging Expertise: Evidence of your participation as a judge of the work of others in your field.
  • Significant Research Contributions: Documentation of your original research that has made a substantial impact on your field.
  • Publications: Published articles in top-tier international journals or professional publications.
  • Exhibitions: Proof of your work being displayed at exhibitions or showcases in various countries.

BENEFITS OF THE SCHEDULE A, GROUP II PROCESS

  • Faster Green Card Process: The Schedule A process is quicker and less complex than the traditional PERM process, allowing employers to directly petition for permanent residency (a green card) for the foreign national.
  • More Opportunities: This update opens the door for more talented individuals to pursue a green card in the United States.
  • No Degree Required: International employees do not need to have a degree from a U.S. college or university to qualify.
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